Help for deciding which pet insurance is best.
Pet veterinary insurance is now readily available for pet owners and for most any pet, from dogs to cats to birds to lizards. Your employer may even offer this option with your own health and dental insurance. But is it worth it? With some monthly premiums reaching into the hundreds of dollars it may not be. Monthly premiums of less than $100 may save you money in the long run, but only if you read all the fine print and truly understand the product you are buying. You will need to research and make pet insurance comparisons before deciding which pet insurance is best for you and your budget.
Compare Your Veterinary Expenses to the Monthly Premium Costs
Calculate your yearly veterinary cost for one pet. You may use last year’s costs or estimate this based on the regular routine care you plan to provide. Divide this amount by 12 to get a monthly cost. Use this as a comparison when looking at the premiums for veterinary insurance for each pet. If the monthly premium is more than your monthly veterinary costs, then pet veterinary insurance may not save you money.
The Fine Print
Read the pet insurance policy to know exactly what is covered. Not every type of pet insurance has the same policy terms. Does the policy cover routine vaccines, spaying, neutering and emergency care? How about diseases such as cancer and genetic breed conditions? This is important information to have in determining the lifelong value of the pet insurance for your particular pet, especially if you have a pure bred known to have hereditary health conditions.
Read the policy to know what it does not cover. Many do not cover pre-existing conditions or what are considered hereditary conditions of the breed or species. Know that some pet veterinary insurance companies define pre-existing pet health conditions as any health conditions previously treated, even if that condition was treated while insured. So upon your yearly renewal, Fido’s hip condition that was covered last year, may not be covered this year because it is now a pre-existing condition.
Understand the maximum reimbursement limitations of the policy. Each policy will come with lifetime and per incident (such as a hit by car injury) maximum reimbursement limits. Once your pet reaches these limits, coverage may be discontinued for that condition, incident, or for life.
How to Get Reimbursed
Find out the process for getting reimbursement. When making pet insurance comparisons, you’ll probably find very few differences in the reimbursement process. Pet veterinary insurance generally does not require that you see a certain vet or ask for approval for a test or treatment. For most policies, you file a claim only after paying for veterinary care. Unlike human health insurance, pet veterinary insurance will usually only reimburse you and not pay your veterinarian directly for medical care for your pet. This is an important point to understand about these policies. Since you pay first then file a claim, if the test or treatment is not covered, or your have reached your limits, you will not be reimbursed.